In budget wind-up, Home Ministry vows to resolve citizenship problems, says no report yet on Dr Zakir Naik’s terrorism link

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin speaks during a press conference at the Ministry of Human Resources, Putrajaya December 3, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 — A budget allocation of RM17 billion has been approved for the Home Ministry by Dewan Rakyat to beef up the country’s borders and security forces.

The ministry’s budget allocation was approved through a voice vote.

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Among issues raised during the Home Ministry budget allocation debate included concerns of possible terrorist strike linked to controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik and issues regarding Malaysian citizenship.

Its minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin in his winding-up speech said he agreed with that the citizenship issues in Malaysia has been going on for a long time.

“I agree that this is a longstanding problem. I will try, maybe in a shortest time, announce that all those who feel that they are citizens and have yet to obtain their citizenship, they don’t have to wait until they are 63 year’s old.

“I find it strange that we Merdeka in 1957, suddenly [there are people] coming to me telling me that they have not become a Malaysian citizen, but they are already 63. This is not logical, to say that they are not citizens.

“So, I will give them one year, all of them must register with relevant documents proving they are genuinely citizens,” he said.

He said this was imperative as if the problem was not resolved, it will bring future problems.

“We don’t want this to be politicised, this is not a racial problem.

“This is a factual problem. This is our country, we love our country and if we want to blame our officers, then why not blame ourselves for allowing those who are non-citizens become citizens?” he added.

DAP Klang MP Charles Santiago however said the promise to register individuals in question as citizens was not fulfilled by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when he was the home minister.

“I brought 300 individuals to his office then (2018), and he promised that he will find a solution to the problem.

“But until today, nothing has been done, despite us bringing all the documents needed,” said Santiago.

To this, Hamzah called out to all with citizenship problems to meet their MPs to get their citizenship problem sorted.

On controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik’s purported link to a terror strike, Hamzah said there has yet to be a report made by the Indian government to Malaysia regarding their suspicions of the terror base centred in Malaysia among a group of Rohingyas.

“Regarding the issue that has been highlighted in the report by Times of India, action will be taken... we will work with enforcement agencies if they need something.

“We have not gotten any official report from the Indian government, after we receive an official report, we will take action accordingly,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.

Hamzah was responding to DAP’s Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh who raised the matter that was reported in the Times of India.

Ramkarpal said since the report was made, the only feedback given by the authorities is that the police had not received any official report on the matter, likely indicating that they were unaware of whether there was such a plan happening on Malaysian soil.

Last night, Times of India wrote that the Indian intelligence establishment had intercepted crucial financial transactions with links to Dr Zakir, who is wanted by the Indian government, suggesting that a Malaysia-based Rohingya outfit may be in an advanced stage of orchestrating a terror strike in the country by a group led by a woman.

The intelligence suggests that a woman-led group, who has been trained in Myanmar, may attempt a strike in an Indian city in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, budget allocation for Defence Ministry worth RM16 billon was also approved via a voice vote.

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